Rudy is the person behind our Pigskinonator and DFSBot football projections and is also behind the baseball ‘bots (Streamonator, Hittertron, etc.) and NFL/MLB player pages. This weekly piece will focus on players where the Pigskinonator diverge from the popular consensus.
Happy Week 4! The first season of our fantasy football projections tool (aka Pigskinonator) is going well. If you haven’t checked it out yet, check it out NOW. Last free week! Projected stats for all QB, RB, WR, TE, DST and IDP!
The regresssion fairy was kind enough to take only a small dump in our robot’s mouth during its required 15 minute daily nap as it finished 49th out of 138 experts in Week 3 after a precociously high 4th in Week 2. The most promising aspect of it all is that these results are occuring while importing our player ranking in total whereas most experts are manually adjusting players up/down. The difference is that the the default rankings are based on the consensus average rankings for players which inherently has ‘wisdom of crowds’ built into it. This helps bad rankings become solid but does nothing IMO to make solid rankings become great. We’re shooting for great and I think we’ll get there.
No new functionality adds this week but made some improvements in the robot code that should improve the allocation of rushing attempts and targets.
Onto my picks…
Sam Bradford (12th – consensus 24th) vs New York Giants – Nothing too interesting at the top of the QBs to write up. I have Big Ben first vs 6th as the consensus – big whoop. Pigskinonator gives Bradford such a ‘game manager’ projection (last in passing attempts, 21st in yards, 11th in TDs 3rd fewest INTS), that I bet he can sneak into Alex Smith’s bed and have sex with his wife and she wouldn’t know the difference. “Enough of these shallow passes, Alex, let’s throw some balls deep!” The Giants defense has been strong against the run but awful at creating turnovers and may be down two of their top 3 CBs. This is a boring but safe play as a QB2.
Derek Carr (15th – consensus 11th) @ Baltimore – The dreaded west-coast travelling to east coast game. This game is a 1PM start. Ridiculous. Shouldn’t all West Coast games on the East Coast, as a rule, be set at 4PM so body clocks are set and fans don’t have to feel guilty about drinking at 10AM? Vegas has the Raiders’ at about 21 points which is a couple points below average. Sounds about right.
Jordan Howard (6th – consensus 20th) vs Detroit – This one’s for anyone who likes ZeroRB as the three biggest drivers have nothing to do with Howard’s actual talent: 1)home game where you do NOT want to get in a shootout when your QB is Hoyer, 2) Detroit’s defense is not very good, and 3) not much internal competition for snaps/touches in a potentially still dinged Ka’Deem Carey and rookie practice-squadder Raheem Mostert. The bot’s got this as a 100+ rush/receiving yards game with about 0.7 TDs. Unless Fox (coach not network) says something about an RB share, I like this pick. At least he’s not Jeremy Langford.
Le’Veon Bell – (10th – consensus 2nd) vs KC – Bell is great when not injured or suspended but it is unrealistic to think that he gets all the snaps/carries this week. I think Williams gets just enough series to move Bell out of elite category. I can’t imagine a format where Bell isn’t must-start but this would be a worthwhile distinction in DFS.
(Last week picks: LeSean Mccoy (Projected 1st/Consensus 11th/Actual 4th), Devonta Freeman (Projected 23rd/Consensus 13th/Actual 2nd).
Emmanuel Sanders (12th – consensus 22nd) @ Tampa Bay – The ‘bot was all-in on Sanders last week as well. It is a challenge projecting targets with a new QB. Maybe he prefers RB/TE checkdowns? Maybe he prefers slot WRs over wideouts? Sanders’ target percentage this year has been 31%, 24%, 37%. Guess Trevor Siemian likes him – maybe he was a fan of Webster or erotic Cinemax series growing up?
Julio Jones (24th – consensus 4th) vs Carolina – While Freeman and Coleman shocked the ‘bot with their crazy statlines against New Orleans, Pigskinonator was right on with its fade on Julio Jones, giving him the worst rank of all the FantasyPro experts). He may be a bit dinged up (was Questionable for Game 3) and Matt Ryan seems to be distributing the ball around more than last year. Jones’ high so far this year is 23% which someone like Emmanuel Sanders has beated all three weeks. Unless Ryan starts force-feeding Jones like last year, I think Jones will be one of the most overvalued WRs and a prime ‘sell high’ target.
Last Week: Tyrell Williams (Projected 18th/Consensus 39th/Actual 36th), Allen Robinson (Projected 24th/Consensus 5th/Actual 9th). Frigin’ a – this was all fluke TD driven. Tyrell had zero, Robinson had two. The targets/receptions were in line.
Jacob Tamme (8th – consensus 17th) vs Carolina – Tamme had 20+% targets in Week 1/2 and was still playable in Week 3 despite it being the Freeman/Coleman show (which, if it had starred Morgan and Gary would’ve been great). I also have him in the top 10 for projected TE TDs.
Rob Gronkowski (12th – consensus 3rd) vs Buffalo – Gronk is clearly the top TE play in almost any game he is 90+% healthy. He is currently at ‘Probable’ and last week’s performance (only 23% of plays and 1 target) provide little indication he will jump back to elite status/usage in Week 4. Throw in an inexperience QB and I could see a repeat of Week 3 where Brissett is kept on a short leash and the Patriots have the least passing attempts on the day.
Washington (1st – consensus 1oth) vs Cleveland – I watched the Washington-Giants game last week and came away impressed at this defense’s nose for turnovers. I don’t put much stock in observations like that – even if they are from me! – but it give me enough confirmation bias to buy the Pigskinonator’s projections of 3rd in fumbles and 6th in interceptions. I think Cleveland will get some yards on this defense but would be surprised if Washington doesn’t get at least two turnovers.
Kansas City (25th – consensus 11th) at Pittsburgh – The Chiefs crushed my fade last week but I am doubling down. Road start against Pittsburgh with Bell back in the fold? 6 interceptions last week is impressive but that was a home game against Ryan Fitzpatrick and two gimpy WRs. If they can stop the Steelers and/or get 2+ turnovers, color me impressed.
Last Week: Tennessee (Projected 16th/Consensus 27th/Actual 20th), Kansas City (Projected 12th / Consensus 3rd / Actual 1st)